Nightlife

World's Best Bar Crawls

by Darrell Hartman

Oxford, England

What's on tap: Collegiate binge-drinking made classy by historical context

Why it's worth a shot: Home to Britain's oldest university, Oxford is a bastion of archaic rituals—including, of course, getting soused (see post-exam celebration at right). Just thinking about the stories that live within the city's centuries-old drinking establishments—born long before the likes of Thomas Hardy and Graham Greene became regulars—is enough to make your head spin. (If anyone asks, you can say that's what did it.)

Booze route: A ride on a gondola-like punt boat along the River Cherwell, drink in hand, is a time-honored Oxford tradition. After polishing off the Pimm's and lemonade you brought aboard, moor your boat for a pint outside the Victoria Arms on Mill Lane, a prime day-drinking spot. Zigzag back to the boathouse and then head to The Bear on Alfred Street, a 13th-century tavern with Bilbo Baggins proportions and a famous necktie collection. There are plenty of options for your next stop(s): The Turf, a popular biergarten where a young Bill Clinton famously "did not inhale"; the tradition-minded Rose & Crown, which fines cell phone users; The Crown Inn, where Shakespeare once seduced the proprietress; or the Eagle and Child, where C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien once lurked in the shadowy nooks. Most pubs close around 11 pm. For after-hours fun, try to sneak into a college "bop," or party (pictured), where a student ID is generally not required. Follow posted flyers, and don't enter through main gates, which are guarded by porters. Remember: Your drunkenness will be more convincing than your bad English accent.

Hangover cure: Before you pass out, stumble to the kebab vans that line St. Giles or St. Aldate's streets to coat your stomach with a chip butty, a baguette filled with cheesy french fries.

Victoria Arms
Tel: 44 1865 241 382

The Bear
Tel: 44 1865 728 164

The Turf
Tel: 44 1865 243 235

Rose & Crown
Tel: 44 1865 510 551

The Crown
Tel: 44 1865 256 047

Eagle and Child
Tel: 44 1865 302 925

NEXT: The world's greatest booze cruise

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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